05 March 2013

'I know what is the meaning of Cross' - Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic politician of our time who shared fully in the Cross of Jesus

I have posted a number of times about Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic politician who was assassinated on 2 March 2011 in Islamabad, just after leaving the home of his mother and grandmother. At the time he was Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, the first Christian to hold such a position.

The video above is the Pulong ng Editor (Word of the Editor) uploaded earlier on the March-april 2013 issue of Misyon, the online magazine I edit for the Columbans in the Philippines. I give a brief introduction, where the video shows footage of Mr Bhatti meeting Pope Benedict XVI a few months before his death.

But most of this short video is the last part of an interview that Shahbaz Bhatti gave, as far as I know, about a month before his death.

Those who are suited or can become suited should prepare themselves for the difficult, but at the same time, the very noble art of politics, and should seek to practice this art without regard for their own interests or for material advantages. With integrity and wisdom, they must take action against any form of injustice and tyranny, against arbitrary domination by an individual or a political party and any intolerance. They should dedicate themselves to the service of all with sincerity and fairness, indeed, with the charity and fortitude demanded by political life (Gaudium et Spes, The Church in the Modern World, No 75).

Shahbaz Bhatti took this to heart and paid the price with his own life. His life and death need to be more widely known.

Clement Shahbaz Bhatti (9 September 1968 - 2 March 2011)

Here are his own words from the video:

Minister Bhatti, you forgot one question in the interview. Your life is threatened by whom and what sort of threats are you receiving?
The forces of violence, militant banned organizations, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, they want to impose their radical philosophy on Pakistan. And whoever stands against their radical philosophy that threatens them, when I’m leading this campaign against the Sharia Law, for the abolishment (abolition) of (the) Blasphemy Law, and speaking for the oppressed and marginalized, persecuted Christian and other minorities, these Taliban threaten me.
But I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of (the) Cross and I’m following of the Cross and I am ready to die for a cause. I’m living for my community and suffering people and I will die to defend their rights. So these threats and these warnings cannot change my opinion and principles. I will prefer to die for my principle and for the justice of my community rather (than) to compromise on these threats.

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